Saturday, 4 February 2012

Wknd 4-5 February

Starting Friday one very impressive female Peregrine circling over Edinburgh.

Saturday - on sea off Wrecked Craigs, Port Seton - a Red-necked with 3 Slav Grebes, 130+ Velvet Scoter - over 90% of these were adult males, as is typical. Bit of green around eye of Wigeon on shore (above). A couple of Purple Sand flew E past with Turnstones.

Down at Seton Sands the tide was a good distance out, giving chance to check throo 2500+ small gulls standing on shore - the recent 2nd-win Med Gull was there (had a slight limp), plus one or probably two adults, one of which was unringed, not sure about the other. In addition one graellsii LBB, 3 ad GBB and amongst 100 odd Herring Gulls suddenly spotted a bird with striking pink "dipped in ink" bill pattern - flew to reveal upperparts of a 3rd-win Herring. So, still drawing a blank on white-wingers, even though they are now being found in increasing numbers in Lothian both in the west and the east.

Sunday - went for atlas topping up East Linton to Hailes Castle - hard to find much new, Mallards and various gulls were only actual tetrad ticks. Had in mind the Smew reported from same stretch of river the December before last, did not do better than a Dipper today [though on arrival home found out about the Smew at Blindwells - well done David, had seen the duck there from the train this week but not visiting that frequently this time of the year, next WeBS not due till next wknd!]. More positively, used nests easily apparent this time of the year, Crow, Woodpigeon, Swallow, one of the former was also new. Also a Barn Owl pellet found. Chaffinch in song was first I'd heard. Definite highlight was seeing a Water Shrew in frenetic activity swimming below the surface of the Tyne in an area with trees lying down in the water - the first time I can recall having seen this, though no photo of course! Interesting that predation by Goosander was listed in one reference I saw as a limit on their numbers.

Final PS - a report of a pair of Nuthatches at feeders in a Longniddry garden a couple of weeks back - this is a first as far as I know, much anticipated given their occasional presence in Fernyness Wood over the last couple of years - definitely a realistic target for the garden list now!

Tuesday - a white dot accompanied by some black dots on ice-free area at east of Blindwells pond likely to be the male Smew, viewed from train. Wednesday - chance to stop and Blindwells and have a proper look at the four Smew, diving continuously at east ice-free end of the pond, beautiful in the early morning sun.

Returning from work a fresh Barn Owl casualty down by the central reservation of the A1 at Bankton, about 500m west of the A1 junction. 30 mins later had moved closer to central reservation; in the wee hours had completely vanished - this may be a rare case of a bird stunned which later recovered and flew off, certainly no obvious signs of injury when first seen (though this is common). Passing Hoprig a shape flew high over B6363, probable owl, and on the late trip one Barnie was perched by the A1 just south of there, west of the Gladsmuir turn - braving the rain to hunt but probably pleased it was not snow!

1 comment:

  1. Keep checking for those white-wingers. Almost unbelievable that they are still so scarce in Lothian...